The Dinner Dance

Ruth M. Malins

She stirs,
savoring the aroma of
homemade stew
simmering on the stove.
The two children chatter
at the kitchen table set for four.
A door slams shut.

He glares at her
turns his back
slaps his paycheck on the table.
She dare not
let him see her pain
so she peels another onion.

He staggers
out of the kitchen
kicking the cat as she passes
muttering under his breath
as he makes his slow descent
down the cellar stairs
where he’ll drink his supper

Later, she huddles with the children on the sofa.
There are monsters in the closet
in the shadows
in the darkness—
but the most terrifying
is the one
who is, mercifully,
passed out on the bed.


“I am a 57-year old environmental educator, working for a nonprofit organization. I just began writing poetry after a 40-year hiatus. I also enjoy creating visual art.” E-mail: RuthHVA[at]

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